New bandwidth is being added at a fast clip, expanding 44% last year from 2013, a new report by market researcher TeleGeography said. In fact, the amount of capacity—about 65 terabits per second of new network bandwidth—that came online in 2014 exceeded the entire Internet backbone held in 2011, the report said.
Internet connections that link users to a Facebook profile, a YouTube video or a Microsoft-hosted website eventually give way to private networks built by those companies. More than half of the network capacity spanning the Atlantic Ocean now belongs to private networks, TeleGeography said.
Private routes give big technology companies a strategic advantage and come at a lower cost than paying telecom companies that have traditionally run the Web for access.
Private network capacity grew at an average 66% a year between 2009 and 2014, compared with a 42% expansion in public network capacity. Consequently, the share of total bandwidth used by private networks has grown to 35% from 20%.
Google has been an aggressive builder of network pipes. The company helped build a trans-Pacific submarine cable finished in 2010 and is in the process of funding another one. The company also took a one-third stake in another fiber optic cable that will link the U.S. to Brazil.
A Google spokeswoman said the network investments allow the company to provide users with better, faster services.
Facebook and Microsoft are also investing heavily in the building blocks of a private global network. The pair helped secure funding for a new cable called AEConnect between Ireland and the U.S., according to a person familiar with the matter. A spokeswoman for Aqua Comms Ltd., the company building the cable, declined to comment.
Spokeswomen for Facebook and Microsoft also declined to comment.
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